Morning Fizz: Poll Shows Support for Murray Plan, but...
Caffeinated News & Gossip featuring: Pre-K, $15, Rodney Tom, Andy Hill, and Transit.
1. Yes for Early Success, a group backed by the Service Employees International Union Local 925 and the American Federation of Teachers, turned in signatures with the city yesterday for its initiative, I-107, to guarantee a fast-tracked $15 minimum wage for Pre-kindergarten and child care workers.
File this under "Isn't it Weird That": The spokeswoman for the group, Heather Weiner, is the same spokeswoman for 15 for Seattle, a different lefty coalition (also including SEIU 925, along with just about every other progressive group in town ), which released a poll yesterday that shows support for Mayor Ed Murray's phased-in $15 minimum wage plan.
(By the way, the details of the poll also show higher support for not counting tips at all than for simply phasing them out as the mayor's plan does, but, indeed, an as overall plan, Murray's does get the most support, as does Murray himself—including when compared to city council member Kshama Sawant and her plan—on the $15 minimum wage issue.)
Count this as weird, though, because the union-backed Yes for Early Success minimum wage proposal is notably different from the mayor's: The $15 wage kicks in for bigger Pre-K providers right away, in January 2015 (the mayor's plan waits three or four years for big companies) and it phases in for smaller providers over four years (seven to eight years in Murray's plan.) Moreover, the definition of small businesses in Murray's plan is 500 or below; it's 250 or below in the Yes for Early Success plan.
Weiner says the signatures they turned in yesterday wouldn't be enough to qualify, but it's "just a batch to preserve the option."
Indeed, in addition to crossing paths with the mayor's $15 minimum wage plan, the Yes for Early Success plan may also end up being in compare-and-contrast mode with another Mayor Murray plan—a property tax proposal to fund universal pre-K.
"We're waiting for the mayor's [Pre-K] plan," Weiner says, reserving the right to get on board with Murray.
2. The mayor's pre-K proposal will be released tomorrow; and Fizz says watch for City Council member Tim Burgess, who's been championing the issue at the city for the past year, and whose committee will take up the mayor's proposal on Friday, to enthusiastically embrace Murray's proposal.
3. Rumors persist, among both Democrats and Republicans, that state Sen. Rodney Tom (D-48, Medina)—the controversial Democrat who has caucused with and led, as majority leader, the Republican-dominated Majority Coalition Caucus to thwart the Democratic agenda in Olympia—is going to jump back into the race. (Sen. Tom announced earlier this year that he was not seeking reelection so he could care for his elderly father, along with his own health. The surprise announcement has cleared the path for the Democrats to win back a seat in the tight battle for control of the state senate.)
Fizz asked Tom about the rumor yesterday. "Rodney Tom is absolutely not running," he said.
He also said he believed state Rep. Cyrus Habib (D-48, Kirkland), the liberal who is running for Tom's vacant seat, "is likely to win" adding that he thought Habib was smart and, while stopping short of endorsing him, said: "I'd rather have a smart legislator [than a party-line legislator]."
"Dow's plan sure was successful," Tom quipped, referring to the recent countywide vote against new taxes to preserve bus service.
Given that Tom's Republican cohorts got blasted yesterday at Mayor Murray's transit funding press conference, getting blamed by King County Executive Dow Constantine and by the pack of Democratic state legislators standing by Murray for blocking a statewide transportation funding package, we asked Tom to respond.
"Dow's plan sure was successful," Tom quipped, referring to the recent countywide vote against new taxes to preserve bus service. Reiterating the GOP line from Olympia, Tom said voters want reforms before spending any more on buses: "The system is broken [and] people don't want to invest until it's reformed."
As for Murray's Seattle-only plan, Tom said: "It's a huge mistake to Balkanize transportation."
4. Speaking of the battle for the state senate (and key races in Seattle's east side Microsoft suburbs), here's another "Isn't it Weird" item: State Sen. Andy Hill (R-45, Kirkland) has been endorsed by Penny Sweet. Sweet is the wife of Democratic state Rep. Larry Springer (D-45, Kirkland), the deputy Democratic Majority Leader.
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